Akbar Gbajabiamila is the latest of a star-studded group of celebrities to make an appearance on FanSided's Stacking the Box hosted by Sterling Holmes and Special Olympics athlete Malcom Harris-Gowdie.
Gbajabiamila is a former NFL defensive end who had brief stints with the Raiders, Chargers, and Dolphins before making it to the broadcasting world, where he's currently a co-host on the American Ninja Warrior television series after he was an analyst on the NFL Network.
The trio discussed various topics, but none more interesting than discussing Gbajabiamila's two fields of work; the NFL, and American Ninja Warrior. Turns out, there are more similarities than you'd expect between the two.
Akbar Gbajabiamila highlights similarities between American Ninja Warrior contestants and NFL players
Holmes had a friend who once trained to make an appearance on NBC's American Ninja Warrior, and was blown away by the strength those contestants have. With that in mind, he asks Gbajabiamila to highlight the similarities between NFL players and contestants since Gbajabiamila has experience in both areas. Gbajabiamila's answer was interesting.
"I think the commonality between the American Ninja Warrior athletes and the NFL athletes, I would probably say short-term memory. The ability to adjust. When something goes bad or wrong, you have to forget it and keep moving forward. They might have struggled on the obstacle before, but if they get in their heads about that, they are going to fail. Same thing with NFL players. If you miss a catch and you are still thinking about the last catch that you dropped going into the next play, it is done with."- Akbar Gbajabiamila
A perfect example of a wide receiver dropping a pass and moving on to eventually make up for that mistake is Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling, whose drop against the Eagles in the regular season is a highlight he'd like to forget. He, of course, made up for it by making an unbelievable catch in the clutch in the AFC Championship Game against the Ravens to send the Chiefs to the Super Bowl. He had the mental fortitude to put his drop issues behind him, much like successful American Ninja Warrior contestants do with failed obstacles.
Gbajabiamila continued on by discussing the ability to problem solve, and how crucial that is for both American Ninja Warrior contestants and NFL players.
"Ninja Warrior athletes are coming out and seeing obstacles for the very first time and they have to problem-solve on the fly. What happens when Kansas City gives Brock Purdy a different look that he has not seen before? That ball snaps and he has to make an adjustment. "- Akbar Gbajabiamila
Gbajabiamila would prepare for sudden changes and says that's what makes NFL players successful. Those who can adapt and succeed despite facing something they've never seen before survive. With this game in mind, it'll be interesting to see how Brock Purdy does against a Kansas City defense he's never faced before, and it'll be interesting to see how this Chiefs defense performs against a quarterback they've never seen before.
Akbar Gbajabiamila spoke to FanSided courtesy of Experian.